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Long and Low: 86 Trail Capable DD


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So here's my story. I've always been into wheeling, and always with my DD. I bought a YJ about a year and a half ago that was too pretty to wheel. Finally I got tired of it, acknowledged the fact that I need a pickup, yet still wanted a jeep, and I spent the past year looking for an MJ in decent shape that I wouldn't mind wheeling but didn't need to do too much work on to get it running. Happened upon a craigslist ad the other day that stated "Running, driving Jeep Pickup $250" Figuring that worst comes to worst, I part it out and scrap the remainders(if the frame was broken or something) I couldn't lose. Bought this comanche, happened to be a 1986 MJ 4WD with a 2.8L and auto tranny (I HATE automatics). Fenders are rusty, cab corners are rotted, drivers floorpan is missing, no exhaust past the cab and the box is more rust than steel at this point, but the bed floor is solid, cab is solid other than the floor and cab corners, and the frame is BEAUTIFUL. Alright, so if if nothing else, I have a base. Oh and the transmission leaked a quart sitting in my driveway NOT RUNNING. But it still shifts okay surprisingly, the previous owner must not have driven it since it started leaking that bad or he must have spent a fortune on tranny fluid.

 

Since I'm putting my YJ up for sale, I spent the past week since I purchased the comanche making the YJ perfect and dreaming a dream of what the Comanche is to become. I've done LOTS of research, and think I've finally come to a conclusion.

 

I've decided this truck is not gonna be pretty. First off, I'm gonna fix the tranny and deal with an auto for now, replace the valve cover gaskets, strip the engine of any emissions equipment other than a cat, and get the 4WD working. Next step is to strip the carpet out of the interior and fix the floor. Following that, I can start on the outside of the truck. Don't hate me, but I'm gonna need quite a few cutting blades for my grinder. TJ flares for the front and back(unless rear flares on the comanche are bigger than TJ flares to begin with, not quite sure). That should take care of a bit of the rust on the body. The rest of the flat areas will get new sheet metal, and the bent areas get bondo. Either flat black, green, or beige all over. But definitely NOT CAMO.

 

Ultimately for the trail capable part of this, I'd like to keep it low for fuel economy and DD purposes. I've always wanted to build a low slung, extremely flexible truck with big fat rubber. I completely understand that I will need to cut and rearrange a LOT. Basically I want a DD that can drive through woods, water, mud, sand and rocks yet still get decent fuel economy and remain simple with carburetion. Hoping to do as little of a lift as possible, most likely 3" or less, and either 33" or 35" tires. Long arms are a must. Any chiming in will be appreciated as to suggestions for flex because I'm new to the coil spring thing for wheeling.

 

With reference to the drivetrain, I'll keep the axles stock besides locking the front shaft. Snorkel will come sooner than later, probably home brewed. Eventually I'd like to swap in a 3.4L with eddy intake and holley carb, and probably a cheap nitrous plate system for laughs. Hopefully I'll grow balls and swap it over to a 5spd. Hell, I already have an AX-15 and NP231 in my basememnt...

 

The other part of this build will be a decent sound system cuz I love cruising around town or the trail and just relaxing and listening to music. Probably the only guy you'll meet that has blasted his 2 12" subs and 14 other speakers in a YJ with a top down listening to Beethoven.

 

BTW, I take criticism extremely well. Tear me apart, tell me I'm an idiot and its not gonna work, suggest alternate ideas (especially cuz I'm new to the MJ) and tell me I should be ashamed for what I'm doing. Ready, GO. Oh, and compliments are accepted too.

 

So without further ado here are some pictures from the day I got her.

 

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Oh and BTW, that's not me. That's my greek good luck charm Vasilios. If I get stuck on a project, he comes over and the second his Trans Am pulls into the driveway, problem solved. Seriously.

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Oh and I'd like to keep this as a budget truck.

 

So to start keeping track of my expenses:

 

MJ $250

 

Billy's Junkyard Trip: $30

Gauge instrument cluster

 

Junkyard trip: $56.75

Fuel door

Spare taillights

Replacement mirrors

shift bezel for a 5spd(so i can make cup holders!!)

AM/FM/Cassette radio(to replace my AM only original AMC analog radio... this worth anything??)

 

Total spent to date: $336.75

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